Confessions, confessions. I really want to go to the Olympics. Not to see them, but to be in them. You know, walk the parade of nations. Beat the Russians. All that good stuff. I thought my Olympic desires were dead and gone but no. They’ve come back with a vengeance. Sure, I hardly have time to finish the dishes and I still haven’t found the hours needed to clean out my pit of a basement but if I could just settle on a sport, I’m sure I could squeeze in the requisite hours of daily training.
The biggest factor in reigniting the Olympic fire in my soul is watching the games with my kids for their first time. Every sport is somehow fascinating to them, like it once was to me. We find ourselves watching women’s beach volleyball, table tennis, synchronized diving, and lots of swimming. They always want to know which guys are our guys and where the other team is from. Though the built-in drama of the Communist block is no more, countries competing against countries still holds a thrill. And there’s always beating China.
As for my own early story, I remember with fondness, the sense of possibility the plethora of sports instilled. And now that I can bet on sports without Gamstop restrictions, AlI I have to do is find a team I feel confident in.
After a brief affair with ice skating (memories of the German skater Katarina Witt and her lovely costumes still linger) I settled on a usual (and unoriginal) summer game favorite, gymnastics. Box after box of Wheaties were consumed (even though I disliked them immensely) just so I could cut out the various pictures of Mary Lou Retton to hang on my bedroom wall. I’m sure I wasn’t the only ten year-old who signed up for gymnastics soon after the ’84 games. So when I hear my six year old son talking about wanting to compete in Olympic Archery, I completely relate.
Beyond dreams of Gold, I’ve been feeling as patriotic as all get out. Phelps makes me proud to be an American. Nothing better than watching our guy get trash talked before his races and then having him come out on top. Not once, not twice, but eight times. Go USA! Yeah! Let’s hear our Anthem one more time! I even find myself mouthing the words along with our athletes as they stand proudly atop the podium. Heck, I’ve sung aloud more than once. Even Seamus (who is just shy of two) comes bounding in the room upon hearing the first bars of the Olympic theme song. He too can sense the momentousness of the upcoming badminton game, with glory for team and country on the line. Makes my heart proud.
Now that I bought Nate a Wii for his birthday, I feel I could begin training at home in any number of sports. Maximize those naptimes and perfect my tennis serve. Once I’ve beat Nate and the kids, I’ll take it to the next level. A real court. Or maybe a ping-pong table (down with China!). London, 2012, here I come.